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Dutch energy firms slam planned green subsidy cuts

Dutch energy firms slam planned green subsidy cuts
AMSTERDAM - The Dutch federation of energy companies last week criticised new government proposals which trimmed subsidies for clean energy and shifted payments to producers from consumers.
Government proposals issued earlier this week called for 140 million euros in new subsidies for green electricity producers to partially offset the elimination of 450 million euros in renewable energy tax breaks for consumers announced in September. EnergieNed, an umbrella organisation of generators, transmission firms and consumer groups, said the planned reduction in subsidies would be a setback for green energy growth in the Netherlands, where more than 1.3 million households are currently powered by renewable sources. \"The ambitions of the government for a growth target of 9-10 percent renewably produced electricity would be unreachable,\" EnergieNed said in a statement, refering to the 2010 state goals. EnergieNed said it had sent a position paper to the Dutch parliament calling for a delay in any new rules to July 2003 to give the government time to improve the system. The parliament is expected to debate the energy policy next week when it takes up the proposed 2003 budget. Under the government proposals which would take effect from the beginning of 2003, the state will subsidise five euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of power from sea-based wind, biomass facilities with capacity under 50 megawatts, photovoltaic solar power, tidal and wave power and water power. Land-based wind farms and plants operating on partial biomass will receive 2.4 euro cents per kWh, while cogeneration plants will receive 0.32 euro cents. EnergieNed said the cogeneration proposals would leave the industry without the proper support while the government formulates a subsidy system for carbon dioxide reduction. The Dutch government has pledged to cut its output of carbon dioxide along with other EU states under the United Nations Kyoto treaty, which seeks to reduce industrial states\' output of gas blamed for contributing to global warming. The Kyoto treaty has not yet entered into force. Separately, Greenprices, a lobby organisation for renewable energy, and a number of environmental pressure groups said they had launched a campaign calling for consumers to lobby their parliamentarians to oppose the subsidy changes. EnergieNed said it agreed with government plans to eliminate an unexpected consequence of the previous subsidy system which paid up to 200 million euros to existing biomass generation in Denmark and Norway, but said that loophole could be easily closed by altering tax laws. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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